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For 54 years Edward Palmer played a leading role in the political and judicial life of Prince Edward Island.

He had been born Sept. 1, 1809, at Charlottetown, son of lawyer James B. Palmer. The young Palmer was educated locally and studied law in his father's office. Eventually he was called to the bar in 1831. Quickly he took an active interest in politics and in 1835 was elected as member of the island's House of Assembly. He continued to represent Charlottetown and Royalty in the assembly until 1860. That year he was named to the legislative assembly until 1860. That year he was named to the legislative council, where he stayed until the reluctant island entered Confederation in 1873. In the interval he had held several cabinet posts: From solicitor-general; 1854 attorney-general; 1859 president of the council; 1863-69 and 1872-73 attorney-general.

Palmer opposed Confederation on the terms set out in the resolutions signed at Quebec but changed his mind by 1873, even taking the trouble to go to London with W.H. Pope to get better terms for P.E.I. if it joined the rest of Canada. That year he was named a county judge in the island and the following year was appointed chief justice of P.E.I. Supreme Court. He held the office until his death at Charlottetown, Nov. 3, 1889.